The Teal Tailgate

The Teal Tailgate

Andre L. Sullivan is a graduate of Jacksonville University with a BA in Sports Business and a minor in Communications with emphasis in Radio...Full Bio


MLB Trade Deadline Preview

The dog days of summer are in full swing as we approach the July 30th MLB trade deadline. Much like last year’s deadline wave, where players such as Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer were moved, expect the unexpected again in this year's rendition. Let’s go over some of the marquee names to watch.

The mainstream trade rumors the past two months of the season have involved the Chicago White Sox unloading their lottery tickets in CF Luis Robert Jr. & SP Garrett Crochet. Sitting at 40 games under .500 & 32 games back in the AL Central, it’s no surprise they are sellers. 

Crochet will be the hot arm on the block this deadline. The 25-year-old southpaw has been one of the best arms in baseball this season. He’s posted a 3.08 ERA. 0.97 WHIP, & 2.43 FIP to go along with his elite 12.47 K/9. Crochet will be under control until the 2026 season, giving teams looking to move for the young ace leeway with contract negotiations. 

The Baltimore Orioles have been highlighted as a key player in the Crochet rumors. After being swept by the Texas Rangers in last year's ALDS, the Birds acquired Corbin Burnes via trade with the Milwaukee Brewers this past offseason, securing their need for an ace in the rotation. Despite being an AL Cy Young front-runner, it’s unlikely the Orioles will have the funds to reach a long-term extension with Burnes following this season with the looming contracts to be paid out to the rest of the roster. 

Acquiring Crochet from the White Sox will require a steep price, and the O’s have the assets in their farm system to strike a deal. Infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby have been mentioned as potential trade pieces, the #3 and #5 prospects in the Baltimore farm system respectfully.

The acquisition of an elite young southpaw with control until 2026 would set up the Orioles perfectly as they look to capitalize on the plethora of young talent they currently hold.

Luis Robert Jr. is the other key player to watch on the White Sox as the deadline approaches. Despite the rumors of him being moved this deadline, I don’t think he will get moved. After missing time to start the season, Robert has been cold at the plate. 

His .227 average is nothing to write home about, although he’s still displayed that power bat with a .497 SLG. I would be hard-pressed to believe the White Sox would get a valuable return on moving Robert with the recent injury concern and performance. It would be more likely for him to be moved this upcoming offseason. 

If Robert were to be dealt, the Philadelphia Phillies would be my team to watch. This lineup needs to add a power bat into the outfield. Brandon Marsh has been solid for the club but Nick Castellanos has been far too inconsistent at the plate to believe they don’t make a move for a bat. The additions of Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper hitting the IL recently only boosted my confidence that the Phillies would be a player for Luis Robert Jr. at the deadline.

Are the Toronto Blue Jays ever going to do anything right? They sit eight games under .500 and are still 8.5 games back from the AL wildcard, it would require an incredible run over the next three weeks to avoid becoming sellers at this year’s deadline.

Could 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or SS Bo Bichette be trade pieces this season? Guerrero Jr. has been one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise dark season for Toronto. He’s hitting .295 with a .372 OBP and .460 SLG this year. Knowing the ineptitude of this ball club, I struggle to see a reality where he gets moved as the organization continues to prioritize mediocrity despite the mix of talent this roster holds.

If the Blue Jays opt to move him, watch out for the Washington Nationals. Despite Washington being a narrative destination for Guerrero Jr, where his father played for the Montreal Expos during the 1996-2003 seasons, it would make a ton of sense for the ballclub. 

The Nationals are just 5 games back from the NL Wildcard and have vastly improved from last season. They have seen what many consider an unexpected performance from the pitching staff. Arms like Jake Irvin, Mackenzie Gore, & Mitchell Parker in the starting rotation have been consistently serviceable. 

Despite the advancements in performance, they still rank bottom 10 offensively in OBP, SLG, and wRC+. The addition of a power bat to the top of the lineup would do wonders and Guerrero Jr. could be the spark the Nationals need.

The other trade piece for the Toronto Blue Jays, SS Bo Bichette, is a name many fan bases have been calling for as the July deadline approaches. The team that comes to mind for me is the Cleveland Guardians. The Tribe has been one of the best clubs in baseball this year, sitting at 56-32 atop the Central as the top seed in the American League. 

The starting rotation has been excellent, ranking top 10 in ERA and WHIP despite Shane Beiber hitting the 60-day IL. Tanner Bibee, Ben Lively, and the return of Gavin Williams project as a formidable top of the rotation coming out of the All-Star break. The bullpen, headlined by All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase, has been a key driver in the success of the Guardians this season. They rank #1 across the MLB in ERA and #3 in saves. 

Despite the quality production of the lineup, the addition of Bo Bichette makes some sense for the tribe. The current shortstop room is highlighted by Brayan Rocchio, who ranks fifth in fielding percentage at .984 among MLB shortstops. 

Bichette would bring another quality fielder to the mix, and a higher-quality bat. While Bichette’s advanced numbers at the plate are down in comparison to recent years, it would still provide a spark in the lineup as Rocchio posts just a .221 BA, .318 OBP., and .319 SLG. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers could be another player for Bichette, a move that would secure them a true natural shortstop and allow them to move Mookie Betts elsewhere on the diamond upon his return from injury.

How about the sensational young stud in Mason Miller? He may float under the radar to more casual fans as he plays for the Oakland Athletics, but statistically, he’s been arguably the best pitcher in baseball. The 25-year-old has posted a 1.50 xERA, .125 xBA, and 0.85 WHIP in 37.2 innings pitched with an elite 15.77 K/9 in the closer role this season. 

With the future of the Athletics being a weird mystery, I think it would be more surprising to see Miller moved rather than remaining in Oakland or wherever the team ends up. In the event he is moved, the A’s are going to get a lottery of prospects in return for his services.

Are the Miami Marlins preparing to start what feels like their 10th rebuild in five years? It’s been a disaster in South Beach this season, sitting 26 games under .500 with a laundry list of injuries to the pitching staff. Former Cy Young Sandy Alcantra, young stud Eury Perez, and quality middle rotation guys Jesus Luzardo and Ryan Weathers have all missed significant time in 2024. A frustrating phenomenon following last season’s NL Wildcard appearance.

The Marlins already moved off 3x All-Star Luis Arraez earlier this season in a trade with the San Diego Padres. Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Tanner Scott are the next pieces to be moved. Chisholm, the club’s best position player, has posted a .733 OPS this year and remains under control through the 2026 season. His movement feels almost inevitable, as the Marlins will look to bolster the farm system as they figure out their existence as a ballclub going forward.

Much like every deadline, relief pitching will be at a premium. Tanner Scott will be a marquee southpaw to watch, he’s posted a 1.42 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 13 saves in 38 innings pitched this year. A team I think of making a move for Scott would be the Kansas City Royals. 

The Royals are six games over .500, and a game and a half back out of the AL Wildcard. Much like the Washington Nationals, they’ve seen a drastic increase in performance this season. The starting rotation has been excellent, headlined by Cy Young hopeful Cole Ragans in his second season with Kansas City. All-Star nominee Seth Lugo has been pivotal for the staff's success as well, coming over this past offseason from the San Diego Padres.

Despite the successes of the starting rotation and meteoric rise of All-Star SS Bobby Witt Jr, the bullpen is a major cause for concern. They rank bottom ten in ERA and third worst in WHIP out of the bullpen, the addition of Tanner Scott would be excellent for the Royals in their quest for a playoff berth.

The Seattle Mariners are an intriguing player to watch during this year’s deadline. They sit six games above .500 atop the West and third seed overall in the American League. With the Houston Astros falling into form the past month and change, the Mariners can not afford to fall victim to another late-season collapse like last year’s campaign.

Are they ever going to have the quality bats to match their elite pitching staff? The starting rotation ranks third in ERA and first in WHIP. The top of the staff possessing Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, & Luis Castillo projects as an elite trio for October baseball. The problem for the Mariners hasn't changed, they can’t produce runs or take quality at-bats. Much like last season, the lineup ranks bottom 10 in OPS and wRC+ while posting the league's highest strikeout percentage. 

Seattle would be wise to make a phone call to the New York Mets front office regarding 1B Pete Alonso. The Polar Bear is exactly what the Mariners need, a dynamic power bat. He’s posted a .243 BA and .464 SLG with 18 home runs this season. Now there is a reality where the Mets are not sellers at the deadline, as they are only two games out of the NL Wildcard. Regardless of this, with the Mets' track record, they could fall off the face of the earth in the playoff race at any given moment and become sellers at the flip of a coin.

What should we expect from the Atlanta Braves at this year’s deadline? I believe a move for a starting pitcher is evident at this point. The season-ending injury to Spencer Strider earlier this year had already acted as a foreshadowing point to a potential move. The top of the rotation with Chris Sale, Reynaldo Lopez, & Max Fried project as another elite trio for October baseball. In the event of an injury, is general manager Alex Anthopoulos comfortable with Charlie Morton or Spencer Schwellenbach taking on a more pivotal role? I’d argue no. 

Zach Eflin of the Tampa Bay Rays is a popular name associated with the Braves at the deadline. He’s posted a 4.19 ERA yet 3.76 FIP, so he’s due for some positive regression. In what’s been a frustrating season for the Rays, a trade of Zach Eflin for a group of young prospects could be the avenue this front office opts to take.

Let’s talk about a pair of bats that we could see moved. Taylor Ward of the Los Angeles Angels will be a sleeper name to watch. He’s posted a .238 BA and .419 SLG with 14 home runs, arguably the lone bright spot on yet another pitiful Angels season. Brent Rooker of the Oakland Athletics is another name mentioned in trade talks. He’s posted a .278 BA and .537 SLG with 18 home runs and will be a popular target for teams seeking a bat.

As I stated earlier, always expect the unexpected at the MLB trade deadline. This year’s rendition should be a thrilling show to sit back and observe. Be sure to follow us on socials @FSRJax to stay updated on all trade news and storylines.

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